City Hall Embraces Early Childhood Development: Reaching an Underserved Population in Tel Aviv, 2016 – 2019

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Abstract 

In the early 2010s in Tel Aviv, parents with children under four years of age were mostly on their own when it came to finding the child care services and support they needed. Although the city was an economic and technology powerhouse, the government showed little interest in providing for the youngest residents. Public concern about the cost and quality of day care and a shortage of opportunities to ensure infants and toddlers thrived drew parents into the streets. In 2016, the city began to respond. Municipal departments expanded services, launched a digital platform for parents, and renovated public spaces to suit children three years old and younger. By 2019, early childhood development had become a government priority and part of the mayor’s reelection campaign platform, although scaling services to some of the poorest neighborhoods remained a challenge.

Gordon LaForge drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Tel Aviv in May 2019. The Bernard van Leer Foundation sponsored this case study to support learning in its Urban95 initiative. Savvas Verdis and Philipp Rode of the London School of Economics served as independent reviewers. Case published August 2019. 

Keywords 
early childhood development
service delivery
partnerships
interagency collaboration
quick wins
Urban95
Focus Area(s): 
City Management
Critical Tasks: 
Follow-up & monitoring
Making services accessible
Strategic planning
Core Challenge: 
Coordination
Country of Reform: 
Israel
Author: 
Gordon LaForge